Billionaire developer Lang Walker and the South Australian government have passed a key hurdle in their $900 million plan to redevelop Adelaide's Festival Plaza.
On Thursday the Development Assessment Commission of South Australia recommended approval for Walker Corporation's plan for a $500 million office tower, with retail and parking, on the site.
The new tower will be a major component of the Adelaide Festival Plaza project, which will also include a new square and other public spaces, a new entry to the Adelaide Railway Station, a $90 million upgrade to the Adelaide Festival Centre and the expansion of the SKYCITY Casino.
South Australia's Housing and Urban Development Minister Stephen Mulligan said the redevelopment would turn one of the city's premier locations from a long-neglected space to a revitalised focal point for the city.
The precinct will link Adelaide's premier Riverbank attractions such as the Adelaide Oval, the Adelaide Festival Centre and the Adelaide Casino.
"Once it is complete, the Festival Plaza will be a space for all South Australians to meet for festivals and events, before and after sporting events at Adelaide Oval, or even just a place to recreate," he said.
Mr Walker said the project would give Adelaide one of the world's "most exciting" public spaces and reinvigorate the city centre.
Walker Corporation's approval does not include the public realm, which is subject to a separate application under the Crown development application process.
The latest approval is for 27-storey office tower of about 40,000 sq m, as well as a new underground car park, and plaza, retail and entertainment precinct.
Mr Walker said the project, expected to start in 2017, would become a major drawcard for Adelaide and attract national and international businesses.
Walker Corporation will start a pre-leasing program for the office tower, which according to the group will include "continuing discussions with a number of major South Australian tenants".
The project involves demolishing a 300-bay car park, making way for the underground car park, as well as replacing existing surface parking in the adjoining parklands.